Early in my career, I worked for a food manufacturing company in Asia. It was a subsidiary of a UK enterprise. My boss asked me to prepare a 5-year strategic plan for the subsidiary to be sent to the parent company. This was my first go at writing a strategic plan, so I needed some advice. My boss told me the plan needed to meet three criteria:
- It must be complicated with lots of calculations, charts, graphics, and corporate buzzwords.
- It must weigh about 2 kilograms when printed – requiring many appendices, photographs, and complex diagrams.
- It must have a summary page where all of the important leaders were acknowledged for their contributions.
I set about preparing this plan and, after I weighed it, I took it to my boss. He looked at the front summary page, weighed it, looked at the photographs, and said, “This is an excellent plan.” It was sent up through the management layers to the top and sent on to the UK parent company…., and it was never heard of again.
The following year it came to that time again, and as I had moved up the ladder one rung, I gave it to my subordinate and gave him the criteria for a good plan. He came back to me with a hefty plan. When I asked him how he made it so heavy, he told me he put some of his mother’s favorite recipes in the appendices. The plan went all the way to the top of our company, was sent to the UK parent company….and was never heard of again.
Several years later, I went to work for our parent company. I was curious, so I looked for our plans. No-one had ever heard of them, and I never found out where they finally ended up. They entered some black hole never to be seen again!
Sometimes, our CX frameworks and plans can be seen as overcomplicating things, hard to understand, and not perceived as directly relevant. This makes it difficult to engage the people we must get on board for budgetary support and sponsorship.
Now, my team and I learn customer culture and CX-practitioners how to build a strategic CX planning framework that:
- Engages senior leaders.
- Talks directly to their business concerns.
- Is easy for them to understand and agree to.
- Makes them and you look good because it is proven to work.
I am looking forward to seeing you in our Customer-Centric Culture and Certification course.